Criminal gangs dismantled, Seelall Persaud says

– cops eyeballing remnants with political links

The Guyana Police Force believes that property crimes are being committed by ad-hoc groups, as it says organized and structured criminal gangs have been dismantled. It is however keeping an eye on remnants of criminal gangs with ties to persons in local politics.

Crime Chief Seelall Persaud said that there are no structured groups committing these property crimes. “These are people who know each other” and they come together by way of phone calls. They do spend time doing their “homework before they commit these robberies,” the Assistant Police Commissioner said yesterday at a review of police law enforcement for 2011.

Drugs

Police are also keeping their eyes on the use of foreign nationals in gun-violence among rival cocaine trafficking gangs and to a lesser extent violence among a smaller number of locals linked to the marijuana trade. Questions have been raised over the years about why the so-called big fish in the drug trade are not being caught and prosecuted. Persaud said that although the police force was getting more and more money to pay informants it still remains costly to infiltrate the drug underworld.

“Still to get a man to infiltrate one of the big drug trafficking groups, you have to do whole lot and whole lot with finance, apart from other security-type arrangements,” he said.

Linked to political
figures

Persaud said too that remnants of criminal gangs which were used for political purposes are still around.

“Intelligence reports seem to suggest that the perpetrators were linked to persons involved in local politics and persons with sentiments for political opposition and that they would have influenced existing criminal gangs to perpetrate the violence,” he said.

Though police believe that the gangs have been “dismantled,” Persaud said there is evidence to suggest that there are “remnants” in the society, with many of them in the prisons.

“The potential for them reorganising is there and because of that we are doing continuous surveillance both on those individuals and the communities that are susceptible to recruitment,” he said.

Frequent Joint Services operations, he said, are being conducted to search and seize items that should not be in the Georgetown Prison.

Piracy

With regard to combating piracy mainly between Guyana and Suriname, Persaud hailed excellent police cooperation between the two countries. He said Guyanese police have been largely land-based. In apparent reference to Suriname’s claimed jurisdiction over the bordering Corentyne River, he noted that efforts to fight attacks on small-scale fishermen have been hamstrung. “Issues pertaining to that border impacts negatively on our prevention-kind of activities like patrolling etc,” he said.

Constraints

The Assistant Police Commis-sioner said the law enforcement agency experiences a number of constraints to crime-fighting. These include the granting of bail to repeat offenders in serious crimes, limited funding to purchase interception equipment, large cash transactions enticing criminals as well as long court delays and postponements of cases causing investigators to be in court all day. The employment of elderly security guards and the access by some employees to large sums of money and carelessness by ordinary citizens are also contributing to opportunistic crimes.

Police continue to rely on patrols, roadblocks, station patrols and choke-point controls mainly in the hinterland

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